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UFC 3 GAMEPLAY UPDATE #5 - 26th April

1481 posts EA Community Manager
edited April 2018
For starters, thank you to everyone who has been playing EA SPORTS UFC 3 and contributing feedback on the gameplay, fighters, and ratings changes you would like to see happen in game. We take your feedback seriously and have made key updates to various areas of the game, including: countering off head movement, slipping the jab, height dependent ducking, how range affects back swaying, balancing “sway n' pray”, and much more.

See which prospects enter the Octagon with UFC 3 Content Update #5.

In-Depth Gameplay Updates
Head Movement

Gameplay update #5 brings with it some significant changes to how head movement works in the game. This will likely be the biggest change to the meta since launch, and as such understanding the details of these changes will be extremely important for players who want to remain competitive.

Head Movement and Combinations

The single biggest change to head movement is in how it interacts with combinations. Prior to this content update, successfully slipping a strike would give you a guaranteed window of 36 frames in which you were safe to throw a counter strike. Now, the type of strike you evade and how you evade it will give different results, which provide you with different levels of safety.

Successfully evading a jab will no longer provide you with a safe counter striking window. This means that if you successfully slip a jab, throwing a counter strike will leave you open for potentially getting hit with a follow up strike that was thrown in combination with the jab.


For example, if I slip a jab-straight combination and go to throw a hook, the straight is likely going to land before the hook, preventing my counter strike from successfully landing.

This makes a combination off of a jab a really strong deterrent to people abusing head movement.

If you successfully evade a straight, you will get a window of 20 frames to land a counter strike. This is enough time to capitalize with a faster counter, but not enough time to be considered safe. So strike selection in this case will be important.

Finally, if you evade any other type of strike (uppercut, hook, etc.) you will get a window of 36 frames in which to safely land a counter strike. This is the same behavior you’ve come to expect prior to this content update. So, evading a power strike is still very safe and rewarding, however evading jabs and straights does not provide the same safety.

Dealing with the Jab
With these changes, the jab becomes much more powerful as a leading strike. With the ability to slip and counter the jab diminished, it’s important to understand what options you have for dealing with it if you have successfully evaded one.


The first and safest option is to block the strike that follows the jab after successfully slipping it. This functionality is new with this content update. You are now able to block your head as you return to center after successfully evading a strike using head movement. So, if you slip a jab and are unsure if you will be able to counter it in time, you always have the option to block any follow up strike. One exception to this is with the back sway. You are only able to block a round strike (hooks, head kicks, etc.) while returning to center after a successful back slip. This was done to balance the strength of the back slip as it relates to other changes detailed below.


The next safest option is to counter a slipped jab with a straight of your own. The counter strikes off of slips have been sped up in this content update, to the point where a slipping straight is likely to beat most strikes thrown in combination. As you strike speed diminishes with reduced stamina, this may not always be the case, but the speed of the slipping straight gives you the safest counter option and should work against most follow up strikes.


Finally, if you have a high level of confidence that your opponent is going to throw a particular combination, you can chain multiple slips together to avoid both strikes. The speed and effectiveness of chained head movement has been greatly improved with this content update to make sure that consecutive slips are an effective strategy for punishing predictable combinations, especially when initiated using a jab.

Prior to this content update, ducking was the single most effective way in which to move your head. It successfully evaded or mitigated all strike types except for uppercuts and leg kicks. Players had come to rely on these properties to the point where ducking was a little too prevalent in the game and was considered by many players to be over powered.

This content update includes some important changes to better balance ducking with the other defensive options, while making its representation in the game much more realistic.

With these changes to ducking, the height of the fighters will now play a much more significant role in the effectiveness of the duck. In order for the duck to be successful, the fighters head will have had to go lower than the opponents shoulder as measured when the opponent is standing in their idle pose with the lead arm extended.


If a hook lands to the head of a ducking fighter who hasn’t met these height requirements, the hook will still land, but it will land higher on their head and not interrupt the duck animation. But it won’t counter as an evaded strike either.

If a straight punch lands the head of a ducking fighter who hasn’t met these height requirements, the punch will interrupt the duck.

This makes timing and height much more significant factors in how successful the duck will be, to the point where an extreme height different (think Struve vs. Cormier) will render the duck a completely ineffective tool for the taller fighter.

Back Sways
To balance out the changes to ducking, which makes evading hooks much more difficult (especially for taller fighters) we’ve improved the ability for the back sway to evade hooks and uppercuts.

Prior to this content update, the effectiveness of back sway was highly dependent on range. Back slipping standing a hook or uppercut would work from punching range, but from the same range a forward moving hook or uppercut would land.


After this content update, the back sway will now always evade a hook or an uppercut, regardless of range. This makes the back sway the go to slip direction for avoiding hooks.

To make sure the back sway wasn’t too powerful, we made a few other changes.

The first was in the ability to block while returning to center. As described earlier, you will only be able to block the side of your head while returning to center after a successful back slip. You will be open to straights and uppercuts.

Related to this, any uppercut to straight combo will not be slowed down when evaded with a back sway. This means the lead uppercut to rear straight combination would be evaded by a back sway, but would return back into the straight unless first chained to a side sway.

Major/Minor Head Movement
The final changes to head movement are related to the controls, with the addition of the concept of major and minor head movement.

Starting with this content update, there are now two styles of head movement, each with their own sets of animations and control inputs.


With a light flick of the right stick, your fighter will now use minor head movement. These are new animations that don’t move the head as far off the center line, use less stamina, expose the fighter to less vulnerability, allow for faster counter strikes but are more difficult to pull off.


With a slightly longer press of the right stick, your fighter will now use major head movement. These use the same animations that were in the game prior to the content update, but use more stamina, expose the fighter to more vulnerability, and allow for slower counter strikes. They are generally easy to pull off compared to their minor counterparts. Each head movement direction has different properties to differentiate major and minor.

The minor duck will not move the head down very far at all. In fact, the minor duck will really only be useful for fighters who are considerably shorter than their opponent. In any other situation, the only effective duck will be the major duck, which is similar to the duck you have been using prior to this content update.

The minor back sway will still be range dependent vs. forward moving hooks and uppercuts, where the major back say will always work against a hook or an uppercut. The minor back sway will never explicitly evade a straight trajectory strike, where the major back sway can evade straight trajectory strikes if the range requirements are met.

The minor side sway is more timing sensitive and will not sustain automatically when input in advance of a strike. The major side sway is more forgiving in terms of timing and behaves the same as the side sways before the content update.

The stamina tax on head movement has been redesigned, with the standing minor costing the least, followed by standing major, moving minor and moving major costing the most.

In general, the minor head movement gives you a lower risk option to use when trying to evade your opponent’s strikes but requires more skill and timing with which to be effective.

Sway n’ Pray
Another change to head movement is something we’ve done to try and eliminate what the community has coined “sway n’ pray,” which is the practice of initiating every exchange with a slip followed immediately by a strike in an attempt to fish for counters. Aside from being unrealistic, this tactic forced players into a 50/50 and was really hurting the balance of the standup game.

To curtail this practice, we’ve made some significant changes to the stopping power of strikes that follow a slip that didn’t evade a strike. We’ve refer to these as “empty slip strikes.”

If an empty slip strike lands first against a regular strike, the empty slip strike will have zero stopping power. This means the regular strike will still come out, regardless of the timing of when the empty slip strike lands. The regular strike will then land during the recovery frames of the empty slip strike.


We’ve also tuned the vulnerability so the empty slip strike is just a little bit more vulnerable than the regular strike, so as to ensure that the regular strike will always win the exchange in terms of damage done, when traded with a strike of equal or lower power.

This makes it easy to punish someone who is initiating every exchange with an empty slip strike. It also makes it very important to confirm evasion before throwing a strike out of a slip, for risk of taking extra damage.

One of the most dangerous things to do after this content update is to recklessly slip and then strike, especially at low stamina. You expose yourself to more vulnerability if the slip is unsuccessful and that damage can add up quickly.

Evasive Movement
In an effort to help people create space against overly aggressive opponents, we’ve added some new footwork tools in the form of a faster evasive movement option.


By holding R1 and R2 and pressing away from your opponent with the left stick, you will now retreat at an increased pace, with your arm out to maintain distance. Any strikes your opponent throws and misses while you are doing this count as wiffed strikes, not evaded strikes, and there are no counter bonuses applied. This is simply meant as a way of relieving pressure and resetting to kicking range when faced with overwhelming forward pressure.

This action does cost extra stamina, so it is something you will have to use sparingly. And it will not work at all when your back is against the cage or when you are in a health event. A forward sprinting fighter will still be able to catch someone using this new movement option.

You can think of this as a backwards moving sprint of sorts.

Back Lunges and Straight Intercepts


We’ve made another small change to back lunges to further empower evasive footwork. If a back lunge gets intercepted with a straight punch, it will no longer be interrupted. The strike will still land and do damage, but the lunge will be allowed to complete, and the backwards momentum of the fighter preserved.

Front Kicks and Sways


Another change in the spirit of giving players more tools for outside fighting, we’ve fixed a bug that prevented the full push hit reaction from playing when a front kick to the body landed while a fighter was swaying. This change should help players who use the front kicks to create and maintain distance.

Catch Kick Counter Punch Block
You will now be able to block the counter strike that follows a catch kick. However, it will only be a partial block that protects you from half the damage. The other half of the damage will still bleed through the block.


This should make body kicks a little less risky to throw, but will also open up the mix up between counter punching, tripping and takedowns off the catch kick.

Leg Damage and Grapple Advantage
We’ve made changes to how leg damage affects grapple advantage. Before this content update, current leg damage would grant grapple advantage, but long term damage did not.

We’ve changed that so that long term leg damage now plays a role, meaning investing in leg kicks, or checking your opponents leg kicks, will allow you to take your opponent down much easier in the later rounds.

Conversely, a grappler who eats too many leg kicks will have a much harder time completing takedowns in the later rounds.

Source: https://www.ea.com/games/ufc/ufc-3/news/gameplay-update-5


  • Mike Perry being in the game is one win already
  • Came to read this before playing the game and I'm excited about a lot of these changes. Some feel very crucial and I'm relieved that they made the update. The one change I'm worried about is the unrealistic one clearly put in for balancing purposes, the empty slip strike counters. That's nonsense. You shouldn't have done that. Guaranteed it will be exploited and then complained about. The correct fix for people leading with slips is to turn the power up and the accuracy down so they match realistic levels. You dip or lean into a hard hood from a fully rested KO artist and you should be done, just like that!

    I want to stay positive though. So I am sooooooo thankful for the head movement changes, and the ability to be able to block after catching a kick (although the bleed through stuff is nonsense). Should've just given the person on offense more options (strike to the head, body, and single or double leg takedowns). If you don't want something to be overpowered don't ever fiddle with the power, instead you give more options and they would have a 25% chance of guessing correctly which preserves the danger without the unnatural feel. Still it's a huge improvement from where it was.

    Still need to see accuracy tuned down dramatically, especially on strikes that are combo'd together (excluding jabs and straights). Still want to see power tuned up. Fighting with Francis is complete trash because he doesn't have his one punch power unless you're fighting a complete idiot who get's super overaggressive.

    How you balance realistic power is by increasing the defensive options to realistic levels. Simple things like being able to block while swaying (you know, like they do every two seconds in real life) make a HUGE difference in how hard it is to be hit. Also technique and accuracy should take a hit when switching stances if your stance switching is low.

    Last thing, not happy that Ortega's super overpowered triangle to armbar from guard wasn't addressed.

    All in all, these are refreshing updates that I'm happy to read and test out. Hopefully that sway stuff doesn't get exploited too badly. Remember, evolution has already balanced everything out. Just stick to trying to simulate reality and you can't go wrong.
  • Can you guys please fill out stephen thompson model body wise like you guys did with francis ngannou I feel like wonderboy has a great face model but body model is way too skinny
  • VendableBowtube
    7 posts Member
    edited April 2018
    Im not sure what happened with this patch, but stamina on blocking is insane. I am blocking and losing nearly half my stamina 30 seconds into a fight. I made it to the third round trying not to block as much and I Can't even get off a punch. What in the world happened with blocking and stamina reduction?
    wasnt like this yesterday

    edit: this in career mode by the way not sure about multiplayer
  • Yeah sure screw around with the headmovement even slower so hook spammers can do their ❤️❤️❤️❤️ more easier.
  • Amazing patch!!!!!developers thanks!
  • T-Hoggie wrote: »
    Yeah sure screw around with the headmovement even slower so hook spammers can do their **** more easier.

    Major and minor back sway will now evade all standing hooks and uppercuts regardless of range.
  • @ea_roger will there be any more DLC besides Bruce Lee? Like last game having Tyson, Bas, and Sakuraba plus Lee. Now we just have Lee? Would love Bas and Sakuraba again. I know I wouldn't mind purchasing Hall of Famers.
  • Blocking is now a huge problem. People will bully you through your block in seconds, it's really irritating. Lets says you have a war with your opponent, before the latest patch if the other had really low stamina near the end of the fight, you could break through their defence and finish them. Now if the guy has Conor and keep punching your hands when you block, even if you have full stamina, your block will break and he will hurt you in way less strikes. When I play I'm the one going forward, now if the guy is going backward, it's really hard to fire back. He will throw jab straight just to stop you in your tracks, if you want to throw hooks, you have to stop first and then throw hooks ( feet planted shoots faster ) but the guy you chasing has the advantage since your the one meeting him. They can throw huge 3-4 combos and since you can't block more than 4-5 strikes before your block is empty, chasing the opponent and controlling the fight has changed alot.

    I have an extremely aggressive style when I play, now I feel I'm in a huge disadvantage when I chase a guy like Conor, or Gaethje. They just have to go backwards, if I want to tag them and try looping hooks, they block, then I know for sure they will throw all they have like L hooks R hooks L hooks R hooks, I block those, but now my block is almost empty and they just have to jab me, than go backwards. Now I feel it's the jab battle since it's the only thing that will stop their tracks since jab is low stamina. Staying in the pocket is highly dangerous especially if your chasing the other one, for the reasons stated above. Now since ducking punches is too dangerous, we chase each other until the two stops to throw down, now its a matter of who throw first and how much buttons he smashed before the other. It's really rock em sock em.
    I like to use head movement's and duck since its push the other guy/girl to counter then you can connect, now it's almost suicide. They just have to throw straights and you can only eat them.

    Other thing, how unrealistic it is when the opponent duck, stays there, you throw, completely miss his head, then he shoots and rocks you one punch?
  • Ive played every ufc game religously since ufc undisputed. This new patch is the worst ive ever seen. It feels so unrealistic right now, half the time i shoot for a takedown it glitches and doesnt register the comand, the block stamina is stupid, the entire stamina system is honestly terrible. Why does every ufc game have to be about stamina. I understand over the course of a fight but the system now is just so bad. There should really be no stamina bar, and stamina should be accumilative over the course of a fight. Im just so disappointed as a huge fan of mma video games. I was so looking forward to ufc 3, but so far its really been disappointing. I just think it looks so rigid and unrealistic, alot of the techiques look horrendous. Im sorry for being negative but i just cant believe how bad this game has gotten.
  • This patch boggles my mind, I'm a good player that try to mix everything, kick, punches, clinch and ground. After this patch, It feels like Day 1 when people picked Diaz and jab the crap out of you, cheese the jab-straight combo. I can't chase people anymore. Chasing people right now is suicide, especially since the patch. You get punched through your block than the guy spam-hooks you to death ( and they dare taunting ) this doesn't require skills, the people I used to eat in one round now ko's me in SECONDS.

    It's frustrating. Really. I'm a fan of mma games since the early Undisputed, enjoyed EA MMA, played the sh!t out of EA UFC 1-2, loved them. When UFC 3 came out, I swallowed my pride and learned the new striking controls, and enjoyed this game a lot. Now I just don't want to play it. Average players will put me to sleep without even trying. They will jab straight me from miles away. I DONT go backward, now it's the dominant position to be in, just let the guy gets close chasing you, then fire your stupidly quick combos, now I can't duck and fire since it got nerfed and if I get tagged doing it it's game over. It ain't fair to the ones who want to dictate the pace and controls the rhythm.

    And I would like to address the combos. I don't use the predetermined ones, I pick my shots and try to read the opponent, I mean if the combinations I just used is a programmed one, good, it will go quicker and smoother. But the majority won't use combos to their real intent, they buttons smash and hope they all land. So to reward people that actually reads their opponents, missing combos should punish you in a certain way. Drain way more stamina but it goes up moment after, actually connect a 4 combos should damage the other way more. But people will spam hooks, so we need the ducking back. Otherwise it's a rock em sock em match. Ducking and punching is not overpower, just go for the body, uppercuts will stop it right away. Create space, thai clinch and do damages. Ducking for me is luring the other outside is go-to combos, and mixing the striking. Something I do not do and hate to see is cranking the duck, they will duck, stay in that duck position, hitting them while they do it seems random and inaccurate. Then they will shoot and they always cracks you in the head. To eradicate this issue, people who duck can stay in this position all they want, but we need to hurt them, if they want to strike back they need to release the duck and come back to strike. Because it's not realistic to hurt someone if you duck on the sides, or the back and strike from there, you need the legs to generate power, so they should come back half way to punch, especially if they cranked it too long. They lose the momentum I should say. If you duck and strike has a combos, you're already in the movement. This is realistic. I will unfortunately put the game aside for a while, and see if there is improvements ( or going back to before the patch when it was making sence )
    EA UFC 3 is a great game, but it seems it's still searching for it's identity, it needs to chose a side, and stick with it. :smiley:
  • The only people that like this, are people that never learned how to strike well, and never learned how to use head movement. It has completely ruined the game, for me. Head movement is effectively useless.
  • I agree with TheSgtJackCarter 100%. As a Fight game fan who played them all. This game has gone backwards this last patch. The head movement made since up until patch 3 when patch 4 came out it didn't work anymore people's fists just found their way to your face. Dealt with it for the most part was very sad they took out a very useful mechanic in the game. Patch 5 its Suicide to use head movement, and ❤️❤️❤️❤️ KO KO KO KO KO OMG I'm never playing ranked again til you fix the game. I've been trying to enjoy this new patch but there is never a fight that lasts longer than 1 round anymore either They're spam jabbing me then get a lucky overhand in at the end or its me because I cant duck (MOVE MY HEAD) as someone who loves Dominick Cruz because he's complex to master and be good at, I blow out Stamina just doing his signature moves evading! ITS THE DOM he should be able to do that for five rounds. I'm getting off subject. Love the new updates to the fighters appearances, and new fighters. But the standup now blows KO after KO Novice players are beating the crap out of me, Ive tried to adapt but it feels like to win I have to stoop to a non-realistic way to fight I was fun but now I'm just getting mad. So mad I just had to get on here and complain
  • I agree with every single thing you just said. Some people didn't like sways, so ea destroyed sways.
  • I literally went from being ranked 242, to somewhere in the 5000's, in a matter of hours after the patch was released.
  • PricePriceBaby
    122 posts Member
    edited April 2018
    I love the patch. When I lose now it feels like I lost because the other player was more skilled and not just using an exploit. The only issue I have really and it doesn't happen much is that people are able to blitz and not really worry about a stamina drain. I fought someone that landed 71 of 160 strikes in the first round and had almost a full stamina bar in the 2nd. Other than maybe a tweak to the stamina, games feels great now. Good job @EA_Roger and everyone else.
  • jackabee5
    11 posts Member
    First time since the demo i am actually enjoying the game, the not being able to survive after the knock down needs to be put back into the hands of the player ala ufc2, and at least have the ability to react rather then have to watch like a bystander the inevitable.
  • i try to enjoy the game since the patch but i can’t. Every fight is the same now the devs aren’t aware about this?? Jab spam overhand sure it’s not really hard to duck but all the fights are the same often finishing in one round..
    Invested a lot of time in this game since it came out was loving it but if feel like it was better before and u should think of putting back the old head movement system everybody around me hates the new one.
    From France
  • revert back to patch 2
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